Saturday, June 25, 2005

Medical Marijuana, Wickhard, and Raich

Medical marijuana is in trouble in California. Instead of completing the federalist revolution that began in 1995 in United States v. Lopez, the United States Supreme Court (with Scalia and Kennedy casting the deciding votes), denied Amber Raich the right to use medical marijuana in California without the fear of federal intervention and prosecution.
The United States Supreme Court wrongfully readopted the reasoning of Wickhard v. Fillburn and ruled that because consumption of the pot in question could impact the interstate market on marijuana, that a sufficient federal nexus has been met.

How interesting is it that when the conservatives on the Supreme Court (Scalia) review the scope of federal power for things they enjoy (hunting, guns), they often find the laws unconstitutional. However, in the area of drug policy they cannot stay logically and legally consistent.

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in San Diego, California. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (619) 235-8300, or


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